Evonik, BioAmber in bio-BDO catalysts

The blog had an interesting conversation with LanzaTech this morning which will be posted next week Monday. In the meantime, my apologies to the readers for letting this news about BioAmber and Evonik slipped out.

The two companies announced on July 24, about their long-term partnership in the development and manufacturing of catalysts for making 1,4 butanediol (BDO), tetrahydrofuran (THF) and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) from bio-based succinic acid.

According to BioAmber, it has licensed a BDO hydrogenation catalyst technology from DuPont in 2010, which has been further developed with partners Evonik and the Center for Applied Catalysis at Seton Hall University based in South Orange, NJ, USA. At the same time, BioAmber and Evonik have also started developing a new generation of BDO catalysts.

Now, the blog has no clue on what type of catalysts are usually being used to produce BDO from succinic acid unfortunately. But what the blog remembers is that Myriant is also looking at producing bio-succinic acid-based BDO with its partner Davy Process Technology, an engineering and technology company.

According to US consulting firm Nexant, the Davy approach is to convert succinic acid to dimethyl ester first and then undergo vapor phase hydrogenolysis to BDO/THF mixtures.

Back to BioAmber, the company along iwth its partner Mitsui is currently planning to start a 23,000 tonnes/year of bio-succinic acid-based BDO in late 2014 in Sarnia, Canada. BioAmber said the global market for petrochemical-based BDO, THF and GBL is $4bn.

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